Connive vs contrive

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Connive and contrive are two words that are often confused. We will examine the definitions of connive and contrive, where these two different words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Connive means to secretly scheme to commit something underhanded, immoral, illegal or mean, usually along with someone else. Connive may also mean to allow something underhanded, immoral, illegal or mean to occur by looking the other way and doing nothing to stop it. Connive is an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are connives, connived, conniving, conniver. The word connive is derived from the Latin word connivere which means to close one’s eyes to.

Contrive means to bring about a certain situation through the use of skill, cunning or trickery. Contrive may also mean to do a foolish thing. Contrive is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are contrives, contrived, contriving. The word contrive is derived from the Old French word controver which means to invent.


We don’t want Russians messing with our elections, there’s more than a whiff of patriotic diminishment when you connive with them and the political naivete is writ large. (The New Jersey Herald)

They connive at the criminal logic of Nazism glorification and, as a consequences, lubricate the rise of a generation of young people who do not know the truth about most horrible war of the 20th century, the Duma said. (TASS)

In spite of all objective truths to the opposite, people contrive any reason they can to reach the objective their tribe wants. (The Montana Standard)

“The worker suffered from PTSD, and as a consequence, the employer elected to contrive this redundancy in order to rid themselves of an employee who was ill, had been on extended sick leave, and as a consequence, the risk was that she would not be capable of operating at premium levels,” the union’s lawyer Michael Quamina said in his submission in the case. (The Trinidad Guardian)